Summary: Joseph provides a great example for us in how to deal with temptation. If you flirt with temptation, sooner or later, you are going to get burnt.
If you have been reading your children’s Bible Story books you might have read the story about Joseph and the coat of many colors. Joseph was a favorite of his father Jacob and because of the favoritism his 10 older brothers despised him.
But to make matters worse, Joseph also had a miraculous ability to interpret dreams and one dream he interpreted concerned his brothers, all older, bowing down and serving him. Even today that wouldn’t sit well coming from your younger brother, but that was unheard of in that culture. The oldest male always received the greatest inheritance, not the youngest. Joseph would later have a younger brother Benjamin, but at this time in their lives Joseph is the youngest, the favorite, spoiled, and appears to gladly interpret his dreams. Maybe he liked the part where they would serve him someday and said so with a bit of an air about him.
Although you may know the story of the coat of many colors what you may not know is that one day, Jacob sends his favorite out to check on his brothers and his brothers decide to get rid of him. They want to kill him but Reuben intervenes along with the providence of God. They throw Joseph in a cistern and as they sit down to eat, contemplating what they should do with this brother of theirs, a caravan of Ishmaelites loaded with goods, on their way to Egypt happens by. So they decide to sell their brother Joseph to those in the caravan. What better way to get rid of him than by making a little money in the process!
When the caravan arrives in Egypt they in turn sell Joseph as a slave to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. Joseph becomes a slave in Egypt but because of his ability in administration and God’s providence, the Bible says that the Lord watched out over him.
Joseph was a gifted young man, not only with the ability to interpret dreams but he had the ability to lead others and administrate a large household financially and relationally. But because Joseph was well built, handsome and talented, that was when his troubles begin.
Joseph has long been a model of integrity, self-control, and one who handles responsibility well. Listen to what happens.
Even though for years we have considered Joseph a model of self-control, I was thinking about Joseph one night this week, and thought, maybe Joseph wasn’t as much tempted by Potiphar’s wife as he was scared of her. Maybe she was ugly. Maybe she was 400 pounds with greasy hair. Probably not, but I’m sure he was scared…but scared of the consequences more than he was of the woman. Maybe she was old, we know he was young. But this flirting situation one day goes beyond flirting.
Maybe the reason he ran was a combination of both fear and weakness. Maybe he knew he was weak and so he ran. Maybe the way Joseph dealt with temptation is the way we should deal with temptation…maybe we should fear the temptation instead of finding ourselves excited and allured by the temptation. Maybe we should run because we can admit we are weak. Maybe we should fear the consequences of God a little more.